MAC buying guide – Should you purchase one now or wait for ARM?

If you decide to buy a Mac, you are about to make an expensive long-term investment.

Apple just announced that they want to make a shift to ARM-based Macs somewhere at the end of the year, and you, who are planning to buy one, are left with a tough decision.

The manufacturer decided to change the Intel hardware with ARM-based chips; they will develop themselves. However, don’t expect the change to happen at once, for a period both Intel and ARM-based Macs will be available on sale.

But now that you know the manufacturer is planning to develop an improved version of the already excellent laptop, you are probably wondering if you should purchase an existing model or wait for the new ones.

Well, each path has its ups and downs. This article will explore both to help you decide what model is best for you.

Why should you buy an Intel-based Mac?

The news report that the transition to the new chips may take even two years, so if you need a new laptop ASAP, you may not be willing to wait that long. Apple plans to bring on the market a 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with the ARM-based chips in the following months, but if you are interested in another model, you may have to wait longer, because the manufacturer doesn’t plan to launch them any time soon.

For Mac enthusiasts, the launch of the new models is exciting, but everyone is aware that even the best products take a few iterations to meet the expectations of the market. Because they develop the hardware on their own, the ARM will make it easier for Apple to bring upgrades to their devices, so chances are the manufacturer will get a new refreshment every few years.

But most of the available models have unique specifications, and you won’t need an upgrade shortly. A device launched in 2018, 2019, or 2020 will last many years, and you have plenty of time to study the market and understand if the new hardware meets your expectations.

With the switch to a new chip, Apple will face difficulties in porting all apps because many still require updates to be compatible with the latest ARM. AppleInsider stated that they expect, at first, some third-party MacOS apps not to work at all.

If you purchase an Intel Mac, you can run all the existing apps and their features for many years, until Apple finds a way to port them to the new chip. Apple is known for supporting older products for many years after launch, so your device won’t get outdated any time soon. Intel will remain relevant to your needs even after the manufacturer shifts entirely to ARM hardware.

With an Intel Mac, you can save some money because you can purchase it from an authorized Apple reseller, certified refurbished department, or during Black Friday programs. Here are the best places to buy a Mac online if you want to save some cash. Even if Intel chips are quite powerful, once Apple launches the ARM versions, the older versions will register a price drop, especially if you buy them from refurb sellers and aftermarket stores. The extra cash you save may be worth purchasing a Mac now.  

Why should you wait for ARM?

As you can expect, Apple produces its own chip because it wants to improve the macOS performance. Because the manufacturer has direct control over ARM, it can upgrade the apps whenever it finds suitable and optimizes iOS performance on all devices. Experts predict that even the first ARM models will have a better performance than the existing ones, with apps working faster and battery lasting longer. ARM will take Macs to levels of performance they never met before. If you are looking for a light laptop, you should wait for the manufacturer to release the new models because they promise to excel in design.

ARM also allows Apple to create new hardware and software upgrades swiftly.

Some experts state that considering Apple’s flawless history of high-quality devices, the compatibility issues everyone expects the new chips to experience, not to be as extensive as the public expects. Most first-party apps will work on ARM Macs since day one, and significant third-party app developers are already working to ensure their programs will run effectively on the new hardware.

Smaller third-party developers will probably take longer to update their programs. Still, Apple is prepared for this scenario and supports all providers to port their macOS apps to the new hardware.

Apple is making sure to ease the transition for Mac users, but developers making apps for iOS will have to wait for the new hardware to be launched to determine if the software they create is compatible with the chip. For users, the shift won’t make a huge difference, but for developers, it equals the change between Nvidia and AMD graphics. The Intel and ARM chips run on different codes, so most apps require rebuilding to function on the new devices. The first step Apple is making towards the switch is to update all existing apps to work on the new processors.

Before you decide what model to purchase, remember that the laptop manufacturing market functions at a fast pace, and a better device is released as you read this article. In this case, Apple already announced that in two years, every Mac would function with an Apple chip. This is progress towards increased performance. The next models have an excellent probability of exceeding all other laptops available on the market. Every Intel Mac sold now is categorized as an old Mac because in a couple of months the new models will take over the market.

But as stated before, if you want to save money, stick with Intel because macOS will support all their laptops for years, and app developers will produce programs compatible with both processors for the following years. It’s not like you purchase a computer today, and it turns into dust the moment Apple launched another model.